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  1. #1
    jeroldharter's Avatar
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    Drying Fiber Based Paper on Screens

    I am getting frustrated with my print drying screens. I dry my FB prints face down on Zone VI screens. The screens are clean and the darkroom is a dedicated space that is as clean and dustfree as it will get.

    Nevertheless, I have been getting little bits of dust stuck to the paper surface. Maybe it is more noticeable lately because I have been making prints with alot of black which shows up the dust. Also, I have noticed for the first time that an imprint of the screen gets embossed into the emulsion of the prints which ruins them.

    I have thought about hanging my prints to dry but that presents its own problems.

    So the question is: am I better off sticking with the screens but placing the non-squeegeed prints face up? Thanks.
    Jerold Harter MD

  2. #2
    donbga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeroldharter
    I
    So the question is: am I better off sticking with the screens but placing the non-squeegeed prints face up? Thanks.
    Always face up.

    Don Bryant

  3. #3
    Jim Moore's Avatar
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    For what it's worth I too use the Zone VI drying screens but I place my prints face up.

    Have yet to have any problems.

    Jim
    "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take"...Wayne Gretzky

  4. #4
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    I bought my Zone screens 16 years ago and always dry the prints face up in a sandwich between two screens.
    Sometimes I will see a pattern when the top screen sags onto the print. These screens were the best investment in my darkroom after lenses of course.

  5. #5

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    I use a set of fiberglass window screens (Anderson) that came with our house - I dry with the print face up and stack the screens against a wall at about a 30 degree angle with an empty screen on the top. This helps the water drain off the prints. When the screens are stacked, the prints have about 1/2 inch of space between layers. The edges tend to curl up, so the parts touching the screen above is usually the corners. The prints do need to be flattened after drying - I use a dry mounting press. I have not had problems with marks on the prints from the screens. I use this method for both fiber and RC papers.

  6. #6

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    Jerold - I know of nothing more frustrating than losing a finished print to a problem like you are experiencing. Something is wrong but I would not blame your drying technique. If drying prints face down on nylon screens was inherently risky, you would find few, if any, pros using that method.

    I have dried my prints face down on Z VI screens for 25 years. I had a problem early-on with staining from residual selenium. Since then, I have used a 4" soft bristled paint brush to apply soapy water to the screens before the start of every major printing session - followed by very hot water rinse and a towel drying. Since doing this, I have had no further problems.

    What is your print washing routine? If you are rushing it, you may well be carrying fixer or other chemicals to your screens.

    Do you squeegee the prints before placing them on the screen? If not, excess water could work to leach any trace chemicals into the emulsion.

    When you see dust on the surface of the emulsion, can you remove it by lightly rubbing with a dry Q-tip? Is it possible you are seeing white specs caused by dust on the negative? I have had many difficulties but never a problem with dust on the emulsion of the print. I inspect each print extremely well before and at several points during the drymount process. If there was dust there, I would be seeing it.

    You are using a tried-and-true method for drying fiber based prints. You might eliminate your problem by switching to face-up drying but if it were me, I would want to discover why a method that works well for others isn't working for me. If you do have chemicals on your screens, they will cause other problems.

    Good Luck!
    Last edited by blaughn; 12-11-2005 at 08:14 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  7. #7

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    Like Bruce, I never had a problem with drying prints face-down on fibreglas screens. (I made my own, using 2x2 firring lumber.) After every session I wiped the screens down with dilute bleach water, followed by a hot rinse.

    As far as screen imprint marks go, it may be a case of simply squeeging the prints well first, or hang them by one corner for a while until they have dried a bit, before moving them to the screens.

    Earl
    Honey, I promise no more searching eBay for cameras.

  8. #8

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    never a problem with zone vi screens with the emulsion face up

  9. #9

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    I never dried face-up as I figured the curl would be worse. But maybe it isn't really a problem.

    Earl
    Honey, I promise no more searching eBay for cameras.

  10. #10
    jeroldharter's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the input. I will try the face up method.

    I don't always have the problems mentioned, they just cropped up recently. I have not had any problems with curling so I suppose it makes sense to dry face up regardless. I use a standard 2-fix processing with 5 minutes in PermaWash and then an extended wash (30-60) minutes in an archival washer. I have tried using a squeegee and not using it. Seems to make no difference. The Q-tip trick for dust does not seem to work for me. It helps a little, but I can still see small imperfections in the emulsion which bother me. I suppose it is possible that my processing leaves the emulsion wet for a long period of time and then it is more fragile to dust or embossing. Nevertheless, I want a more foolproof process.
    Jerold Harter MD

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